Before it was the latest fried chicken joint to join Long Island’s burgeoning oil-crackled bird scene, Copper Pot Chicken Co. in Rockville Centre was a one-night stand.
As chef Art Gustafson tells it, on a fall night at his Chadwicks American Chop House & Bar, he seated 100 customers, and 70 ordered the special — twice-fried chicken that had been brined overnight, crusted in a matzo-meal-flecked batter and served in a copper pot for a “more upscale” feel.
Copper Pot Chicken opened late last month in the former Spanish tapas spot Sangre de Uva with a tongue-in-cheek vibe. Here, the walls are adorned with blush-worthy expressions such as “If they only want legs, breasts & thighs, send them to C.P.C.,” and “Chicken Parking Only, All others will be plucked.”
The restaurant is yet another new concept from Gustafson, who has become sort of a culinary savant in town, creating successful eateries that also include Tony Colombos Italian Bistro and Salsa Mexicana Kitchen & Cocktails.
“The idea was to do something more boutiquey than your corner fried chicken store, a little Hamptons style,” he said. The prices reflect that. An 8-piece bucket with two sides and three biscuits is $25.
The long, narrow space crams roughly 40 bar and dining seats into a restaurant that has been redesigned with of-the-moment flourishes that include faux copper tin ceilings, frosted light fixtures, exposed brick and a microbrew tap list that includes a Copper Pot Ale, a pale ale produced for the restaurant by Prohibition Brewing Co. in California. Shakes are hand spun in front of you, including a double chocolate ice version with whipped cream ($5.50) that is as heavy duty as it sounds.
The menu is rounded out with barbecue, including ribs and pulled pork, a potpie, burgers and three types of sausages.
The main act here, the fried chicken, is made using free-range Bell & Evans birds, and comes with a choice of sides, including homemade versions of creamy mac and cheese, potato tots and garlicky collard greens.
Copper Pot Chicken Co., 65 N. Village Ave., Rockville Centre; 516-600-9656, copperpotchicken.com